On the Road Again
by Racer X Virtual Trainer
|The pros are, well, pros at training while on the road. Chad Reed travels with his Concept2 rower to get a good warm-up before motos.
One aspect of Motocross that is hard to avoid is the travel. If you are a pro or an industry insider, traveling the AMA SX and MX circuit means a lot of time on the road. Even if you aren’t one of the lucky few who get to travel for racing, many weekend warriors log so many hours for business they have to give their frequent flyer miles as gifts before they expire. Traveling from city to city can be great, but it does pose a problem from a training aspect. Time on the road means time away from your normal training routine which for most people means no training at all. A strange city and packed schedule and the travel itself -- racing to meet connections in airports, long lines, etc. -- all serve to eject a workout from your day. But it doesn't have to be that way. With a little planning and a few simple things like a jump rope and TRX suspension trainer, you can keep your training program on track and you won't even have to leave your hotel room!
Consistency is Key
The most important thing you need to do while traveling is to maintain your normal schedule. This includes eating the same foods, training at the same time, and maintaining your practice schedule. Training without a gym does not require a lot of equipment, but it does take a little imagination, discipline, dedication and desire. Traveling with people who are just as dedicated to training as you is equally important. Try to associate and travel with riders who are more apt to train with you than to talk you out of a training session and play the newest video game. Training with a partner on the road will help you through those rough workouts when you may not have the fortitude to push through on your own.
Your workout should consist of the same exercises that you are accustomed to at home. This includes both upper and lower body, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility, warm-up and cool down, as well as not letting your diet fall to pieces. Warm-up exercises can easily be done on the road and can include walking the hotel steps, jumping rope, jumping jacks, jogging or if the hotel is equipped look for tread mill, stationary bike, or rowing machine. 5 to 10 minutes of warm-up followed by 5-minutes of dynamic stretching should be enough to elevate your heart rate, body temperature, and breathing.
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Upper body exercises can be done with many things that are readily found in your hotel room. Endless types of pushups can be performed. Regular pushups on the floor are obvious, but you can also elevate your feet by placing them on a chair for more resistance, or have someone you are traveling with apply resistance by lightly sitting on your back. Pull up bars are very inexpensive and can be found online or at any sports store and are great to travel with as long as you are not flying. Work your triceps by doing dips off of a chair and load your soft side travel bag with clothes to do arm curls. Work in some core training and you have a complete upper body workout without even leaving your hotel room.
Exercises for the lower body can be a little more challenging do to the need for more weight. But it can still be done. If your hotel has a gym, then even the most ill-equipped will have enough weight and machines to get the job done. If you are a full-on Motel 6 type traveler you still have options. Walking lunges can be a great way to train your lower body. Just pick up the heaviest object you can find and start training. Hotel steps are also great for your legs. Try walking the steps by skipping one or two steps and when you get to a landing, perform 10 lunges before continuing to the floor. While you are in the staircase, hang your heels off the edge and do some calf raises.
Resistance bands are another great tool for training on the road. They are compact and light and perfect for traveling even in a carry on. All sports stores carry resistance bands and they can be used to train both the upper and lower body.
Hotel Room Routine
The following workout is best done as a circuit, so start with the first exercise and proceed through the last, moving as quickly as possible between each exercise. Then take a 2-minute break and repeat the circuit. If you have the time and fitness to complete a third circuit, that’s great, but start out with two and work up from there.
- Pushups: Regular pushups are great and the variations you can come up with are endless. This makes it the perfect travel companion. If you really want to take your push-up to the next level you need to incorporate instability. This can be done by lifting one foot off the floor. The push-up will not only work your back and shoulders but the core strength required to maintain balance will kick your heart rate into high gear making it a great endurance exercise as well. Do as many pushups as possible in 1-minute with perfect form. Pushups can also be performed normally on the floor or with your feet on the bed or chair for added resistance.
- Alternating Split Squats: Starting in the lunge position (right foot forward, left foot back), quickly switch your feet by jumping. Try keeping your head at or below the level it starter while switching your feet by bending your knees. Keep switching your feet, staying as low as possible in the lunge position moving your feet as quickly as you can with intensity. Perform at max intensity for 2-minutes.
- Chair Dips: Place your hands behind you on the edge of a chair (or the bed if there’s no chair). Lower your body until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle (your upper arms should be roughly parallel to the ground). Press back up until your arms are nearly straight, but don’t lock your elbows. For added instability to fire the core, lift one leg off the ground. Perform as many dips as you can in 1-minute with perfect form.
- Bed Jumps: This one may get you in a little trouble with the hotel management but the benefits are worth the hassle. Standing at the foot of the bed with your feet shoulder width apart, squat down and then explosively jump up onto the bed. Jump or step back to the floor and repeat. If the ceiling is too low to jump you can substitute plyometric squat jumps. Perform at max intensity for 2-minutes.
- Windshield Wipers: Lie down between two beds with your waist aligned with the ends of the beds so your legs can be lowered to the right and left, all the way to the floor. Point your feet up to the ceiling, with your arms straight out to the sides, palms down. Hold onto the bottom of the bed for support. Lower your legs to the right, stopping within 1 to 2 inches of the floor. Raise them back to center and down to the left. Do as many as you can in 1-minute with perfect form. For added intensity have someone "throw" your legs to each side.
- Plyometric Wall Pushes: Stand about a foot more than arms length away from a wall. Then, with your arms outstretched in front of you, fall forward and catch yourself on the wall. Bend your arms until your nose comes within 2-inches of the wall, pause, and then push explosively with your arms and chest to return to a standing position. Repeat for 2-minutes. The further you stand from the wall and the harder you push, the more intense the exercise. Want to make it harder? Use the bed instead of the wall.
- Burpees: Burpees are one of the greatest exercises that should be a part of your program whether you are traveling or at home. Start in the standing position, squat down placing your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back to a plank position, do a push-up, jump your feet back to the squat position and stand up. For added intensity, jump as high as you can at the end of the move. Perform at max intensity for 1-minute.
Other Road Warrior Exercises
If you aren't one for spending time in your hotel room and like to venture outside the number and variations of workouts are endless. Pack your running shoes and explore on foot or go to a local bike shop and rent a road or mountain bike. If you find yourself in a high rise hotel, run the steps. Try switching it up by skipping steps and on every other landing stop and do 20-pushups. You can also work on power and endurance by walking the steps; but skip two or three steps at a time making the motion more of a lunge.
The TRX Suspension Trainer is one of the best pieces of equipment to come along in a long time. It is compact, lightweight and can be setup in any space. This thing is so travel friendly you can even carry it on at airports. Check out TRX archive page for how to use the TRX training system specifically for motocross.
Rowing is also an activity that doesn't have to stop just because you are on the road. Many of the top pro teams travel with their rowers in the hauler while more and more are showing up in the pits at each race. The pros must be on to something. Many hotel gyms have a rower and if not, Concept2 has you covered with a webpage that will locate the nearest rower anywhere in the World. That should just about cover any excuse you can come up with for not training. So the next time you have to hit the road, bookmark this article and don't let a little travel ruin your training program. Check out the Concept2 archive page for workouts developed specifically for motocross. Good Luck!
That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.